Editor’s Picks: Best of Geeks Under Grace – Spring 2016

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Not so long ago, in a galaxy not so far away, the talented writers of Geeks Under Grace entered the spring season, wielding their power levels over 9,000 and flashing their Vulcan salutes. With pens (or y’know, keyboards) as sharp as mythril blades, they toiled from March to June to bring you all the thought-provoking, the critical, the nourishing, and the comedic.
Our editing team has compiled their personal picks in each category that we feel represents the best of the best of GUG’s spring 2016 articles and reviews. As we enter the summer season, relive the nostalgia of crucifixion anime, life-changing rap music, Shakespearean Star Wars, Disney’s most religious animated film, and much more.
Here’s to a new season of faith and fandom!

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Video Games

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1. Level Up! Applying RPG Logic to Fitness
Kelly’s piece on applying video game (RPG) logic to fitness is rife with her personal touch of humor and testimony; completely soaked in the kind of geeky metaphors for life and gaming that appeals to all audiences.
2. Review: Ratchet & Clank
Damien’s review of a game that was released in sync with the film caught me off-guard. He elevates the game on the level of a Mario Galaxy. Even if it isn’t as good, Damien makes it sound so.
3. Review: Dark Souls III
Joe’s expertise with the Demons/Dark Souls/Bloodborne series really shines here.

Movies

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1. The Hunchback of Notre Dame’s Theological Significance
This movie has a lot of great theology in it that I feel like a lot of people don’t appreciate, and Trey does a great job pointing it out.
2. Review: Finding Dory
Colby does a thorough job in reviewing this film. He’s both honest and he looks at the highlights of the film.
3. Review: The Angry Birds Movie
Brutally honest and very informative.

Books

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1. Harry Potter, the Deathly Hallows, and Hope
The world of Hogwarts gets a lot of flak in the Christian community, but this doesn’t stop Vince Chapman from examining the series’ final installment for biblical allegory. Death, hope, and victory—all mainstay themes in the Easter story—are paralleled through Harry’s most difficult adventure.
2. 5 Worldviews on Christian Entertainment
With just the right amount of wittiness and sarcasm to speed it along, this article categorizes differing perceptions of entertainment in an easy-to-understand format. Meanwhile, it takes an honest look at the ups and downs of varying viewpoints, popular examples of each, and what role each approach to Christian entertainment can serve in the bigger picture.
3. Review: William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope
If you think you’ve seen all things Star Wars, think again. Elora Powell praises the daring originality of this must-own re-telling, while approaching it with a playwright’s perspective.  

Music

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1. Singer/Songwriter Christina Grimmie Has Passed Away – Can I Say Something?
No doubt Christina Grammie would have felt right at home at Geeks Under Grace, and her passing was one of the greatest tragedies to befall the intersection of Christianity and geekdom. Cooper puts his heart on the page as he pens an honest eulogy for the songwriter and her family, while encouraging others to carry on her legacy of love.
2. How God Used Rap Music to Change my Life
One of the season’s bravest pieces, L.J. Lowrey gives his personal testimony about the role that secular (and later Christian) rap had in leading him to the Lord and carrying him through devastating tragedy.
3. Secular Lyrics and Paul the Apostle
Would the Apostle Paul have quoted Macklemore’s “Church” in the modern era? T.C. Lewis dives into the significance of the sermon on Mars Hill and why it’s so important to Christian geek culture.

Anime

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1. My Last Day – Reflections on the Crucifixion Anime
Anime is something of an anomaly in the Christian realm. Christianity is reluctant to embrace it, and the anime medium rarely references (let alone accurately represents) the Christian faith. Robert Miller and Michael Morejon collaborate to discuss “My Last Day,” an anime short about the crucifixion of Christ. Beyond merely being reflective of Easter, this article considers the historical and cultural accuracy of the short, as well as offers thoughtful critique on why Christians may be overlooking a valuable entertainment medium ideal for conveying biblical narratives.
2. Review: Twin Star Exorcists, Episode 5: Twelve Guardians, Vermillion Bird – The Guardian Shimon
Cooper’s sharp-witted, satirical tone makes this particular episode review a delight to read. After a solid, critical analysis, he wraps up his thoughts with a short devotional about growing up physically, mentally, and spiritually.  
3. Review: Sailor Moon Crystal, Episode 27: Infinity 1 Premonition – First Part
Robert Miller taps into the biblical principles at work in Sailor Moon Crystal as the series continues, but doesn’t shy away from addressing the controversy of the new season.

Tabletop

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1. If This, Try That
Perfect for beginners and ideal for those seeking recommendations for their next game night, “If This, Try That” takes a thoughtful look at some of our favorite, mainstream board games and similar (perhaps even superior) ones we might be overlooking.
2. A Day at Origins
Derek Thompson’s report on the Origins Game Fair takes readers to the scene of a board game convention and all its sights and sounds. A fun read, it’s equally insightful and has its share of surprises along the way.
3. Review: Codenames
While Chris writes many good reviews, I especially liked how this one detailed the workings of the game by recounting real gameplay experiences. It makes the concepts very tangible and all the easier to envision playing alongside your own friends and family.

Christian Living

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1. Geeking about the Psalms: Psalm 8
I’ve really enjoyed all of Ricky’s pieces on the Psalms I’ve edited, but the prayer at the end of this one really hit me. I think so many people need to hear that no matter what anyone else says, God thinks we are beautiful: “Even when I consider myself to be ugly, worthless, and frivolous, remind me that in Your eyes I am beautiful and mean the world to You.” So many struggle with self-acceptance, and I would hope this article could bring them a little peace and put things into perspective.
2. VR: Why be Me?
VR is a hot topic right now, and Colby’s take on the issues that could come about with it are very interesting. It has long been feared that geeking out, whether over a video game, manga, anime, movie, or TV series, can lead to becoming isolated in fantasy worlds. However, I think what Colby is asking readers to do here is to examine themselves and find the healthy balance between the real and the fictional.
3. 5 Excuses Christian Use to Sin
Michael’s article is addressing something that is becoming more and more prevalent in society. No one is perfect. We all have moments of weakness where we do something that wouldn’t please God. But we cannot keep making excuses for ourselves. If we know something is wrong, we need to turn to the Bible or fellow Christians to help us stop. While many of the points Michael makes are controversial to some, I applaud his bravery and honesty.

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Casey Covel

Casey Lynn Covel (known online as “Cutsceneaddict”) is an award-winning, published writer, avid reader, and aspiring author. She runs a nerdy writing blog called Meek-Geek and founded PROJECT: Magic Kingdom Hearts in 2012. When she’s not writing for Geeks Under Grace, Florida Geek Scene, Beneath the Tangles, or FROM JAPAN, she enjoys cosplaying, and has won several awards for her work. Follow her on Instagram for her latest cosplay endeavors. #meekischic

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